SaskPower’s Plan Isn’t Ambitious

SaskPower’s new target, announced by the Premier last week, is out.

Saskpower mix by 2030 vs 2015

That’s more wind power than we produce with coal or with natural gas today. Sounds impressive, until you realize that North Dakota did this already:
As of the end of 2014, 1,886 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity had been installed for wind power in North Dakota.

SaskWind also says this is “unambitious”.

1) As noted: Wind energy is cost competitive with natural gas, half the price of coal with carbon capture and significantly cheaper than nuclear. It is the cheapest form of new renewables on the market today.

2) Saskatchewan has a world class wind resource – which is substantially better than the average in both the US and Europe.

3) The European Union and the US expect 23 percent and 20 percent respectively of ALL their electricity to be generated by wind in 2030.

Alberta is heavily dependent upon coal electricity. By 2030, according to their #ABclimate plan, there will be no coal burning for electricity in 15 years. In Saskatchewan, SaskPower promises up to HALF of our electricity will STILL come from fossil sources like lignite coal. That’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop using, and subsidizing fossil fuels now.

A Committee Of None

Five years ago, I attended a “stakeholder” meeting at a hotel, hosted by the Provincial Government. They were touting their newish 2020 “plan” to reduce climate change.

There was consensus among participants that in order to achieve the provincial target of 20% reduction over 2006 emissions by 2020, additional measures should be taken to achieve emission reductions in a larger portion of the oil and gas sector.

(emphasis added)

Advisory Council
9 (1) The Climate Change Advisory Council is established.
(2) The council consists of the minister and not more than 11 other members
appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

climate change advisory council posting

In the last couple years, reference to the 20% below 2006 by 2020 target has disappeared.

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Saskatchewan Party Can’t Hit a Moving Target

As Brad Wall goes to Paris to represent Saskatchewan at the COP 21 climate conference, here’s how his government handles critical climate targets:

If you can’t hit a target, remove the target and bury it until forgotten.
2 years ago I saved the text of a Sask Gov’t website, predicting it would soon be altered. It was.

“Saskatchewan has established a provincial target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2006 levels by 2020.”
CBC thought it’s still the goal. There’s no mention of it on Government webpages that I can find now.

replaced with:
“Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Plan is designed to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions by setting annual reduction targets for industry and encouraging investment in low-carbon technologies.”
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Joe, You Can Go Now

Why I’m really, really, really glad Joe Oliver isn’t Finance Minister anymore:

Keystone XL would have created jobs, bolstered ec growth, strengthened nat’l security, reduced GHG emissions and enhanced N Am energy indep
Therefore, disappointing President Obama rejected Keystone X. See yesterday’s article where I discuss implications. http://business. financialpost. com/fp-comment/..[thiscrapisntworthreadingfurther]
See my interview #CBC #newsworld on disappointing Keystone rejection & triumph of politics & symbolism over facts.

Enabling more bitumen to flow from Alberta would not lower GHG emissions, so you can bet the rest of his claims are false too.

The day before:

See my article in Nat’l @nationalpost on need to diversify energy mkts given likely rejection of Keystone XL.

So, is diversification of our economy a good thing, or do we want to focus only on oil and gas? Go and eat your cake Joe, and then have it too.

Too Fast To Be Absorbed

The scandalous details are piling up too quickly to take in. Or, did my blog post title mean that the CO2 is being injected too quickly to be sequestered? We may never know.

Aquistore will permanently sequester only 350,000 tonnes, or 1.2%, of the of 30-million tonnes which will be captured at BD3.

Of the rest going toward “Enhanced Oil Recovery” (basically replacing oil with CO2 liquid pushed underground), only some of that remains sequestered underground. So even if the BD3 plant attains its still out-of-reach 90% capture rate, that doesn’t accurately reflect the amount of CO2 prevented from entering the atmosphere. It’s somewhere far south of the 50% figure, making clean coal half clean, and half deadly, depending on how you want to view that filthy cup.

It’s a Gas

CCS, what is it good for? Absolutely money. Not for you and I, no, it’s good for oil companies.

We’re talking about this because the only “clean coal” plant isn’t working properly yet, and it opened over a year ago (late). The delay is costing SaskPower customers tens of millions of dollars in penalties to pay to the oil company Cenovus.

SaskWind explains:

350,000 tonnes will be permanently sequestered in Aquistore
Aquistore’s own web site describes itself as a “storage site for the world’s first commercial post-combustion CO2 capture, transportation, utilization, and storage project from a coal-fired electrical generating station”. However SaskPower, in its ‘Case for Carbon Capture and Storage’ confirms that Aquistore will permanently sequester only 350,000 tonnes, or 1.2%, of the of 30-million tonnes which will be captured at BD3. This small amount confirms that BD3 was only ever about providing CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery. In other words: the tiny percentage that is permanently sequestered at Aquistore is simply a fig leaf to disguise the true nature of BD3 – the production, at public expense, of CO2 for the oil industry.

-emphasis added

I’ve been writing about the true purpose of CCS for years and years. Others have realized it too.

We’ve roughly months left in the world to stop building coal fired electricty infrastructure, without certainly stranding those assets when we have to dismantle them in coming years before the plants recoup their investments.

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Touted CCS Technology Not Working As Boasted About

SNC-Lavalin-built carbon capture facility has ‘serious design issues’: SaskPower
Despite conflicts, SaskPower gives SNC another multi-million dollar contract

Mind you, the fact there’s legal action in the cards hasn’t stopped SaskPower from awarding the firm a $4 million portion of the $45-million Island Falls Powerhouse Concrete Rehabilitation project.

Nor did a September 2014 SaskPower carbon capture briefing note, obtained by the NDP, which says SNC “is more concerned about getting paid for the 6.5 million than fixing the deficiencies of our plant.”

It goes on to note “very poor to no support from SNC Lavalin,” and “serious design deficiencies” in the project.

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh says “because there’s a contract dispute (with SNC) on one job, doesn’t mean we don’t use them on another job.”

I happen to work at the same university, the one primarily responsible for research that made Boundary Dam CCS possible:

Associate professor of marketing at the University of Regina, Lisa Watson, says “of course people are going to be upset” over the issues at Boundary Dam.

The bigger question, she says, is whether they should be.

The consumer push for more environmentally sustainable options and clean energy is a “major change” for government, she says, and perhaps people shouldn’t be upset when projects involving groundbreaking technology don’t go as planned.

Carbon capture has “huge potential, and if it was working properly, we’d be shouting from the rooftops,” she says, and “to not do it at all, I don’t think that’s the right thing.”

Premier Brad Wall touts Sask. carbon sequestration project
Some premiers are sitting out today’s climate change summit in Quebec City, but Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is there, talking up the province’s efforts to capture and store carbon dioxide.
Wall told an audience that the world needs to follow Saskatchewan’s example if there are to be serious reductions in greenhouse emissions.

I tried to find Brad Wall on a rooftop shouting to people about it, instead there is video of him on Sun News TV boasting about it to Brian Lilley, and more than a smattering of articles on the Web boasting about it.
“YouTube’s great, you can learn anything on YouTube.” – Premier Wall

Wall at Boundary Dam CCS

Boyd admits issues surrounding the plant have “a bit of a negative connotation,” adding “I think any time there’s losses, any time there’s problems, there’s certainly a degree of loss of confidence.”
On the other hand, he thinks taxpayers “would rather have SaskPower delivering power to them,” rather than the private power companies that operate in other jurisdictions.

Wow, neat way for Boyd to suggest the alternative to fixing SaskPower is only to ditch the Crown Corp and go with a rob-you-blind private power corporation instead. (The Saskatchewan Green Party is proposing converting SaskPower into a Crown Co-op instead.)

An aware commenter notes:

Myek O’Shea:

Holy spinning neckties Batman! Our loss of confidence is with Bill Boyd and those politicians that chose carbon sequestration over renewable energies. The Sask Party keeps green washing this sequestration turd as if we asked for it in the first place. Want to restore our confidence? Lets go 40% wind and solar by 2020. But on the other hand, maybe tax payers should waste their money on subsidizing the petroleum oligarchy. Oh and ‘groundbreaking’ here is a pun, nothing more.

There’s also the huge matter of SNC-Lavalin’s criminal charges. The Federal government stopped dealing with HP after a bribery conviction for that company.

More from Global News Regina.
“SaskPower says the project is now on target to be fully operational by the end of 2016.”

“Out of the more than 250 companies year to date on the World Bank’s running list of firms blacklisted from bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy, 117 are from Canada — with SNC-Lavalin and its affiliates representing 115 of those entries, the World Bank said. “